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The high quality of health care we enjoy today can be attributed to clinical reasearch.  Without research the development of new and improved treatments or drugs could not happen.  The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC) understands this and is committed to developing a culture that supports teaching and research in order to promote learning, improve current health care treatments, and assist doctors and health care professionals to search for better, more effective methods of care for our patients. 

The TGHC palliative care physicians have appointments with the University of Toronto and are involved in teaching residents and medical students.  Two clinical research proposals for the Palliative Care Unit have been presented to the Board Ethics Committee and Senior Management Team, and the Joint Research Ethics Board (JREB) which the TGHC is partner on, and have been approved.  One of the studies being conducted is:

Dysphagia in the palliative care setting

The “DysCORD” study, which stands for Dysphagia in a palliative care setting:  a Coordinated Overview of Caregivers’ Responses to a patient’s Dietary changes.”

What is dysphagia? 

“Dysphagia” is a difficulty in chewing and/or swallowing food.  It is a result of damage to the body, due to events such as a stroke, cancer, or other diseases.  Dysphagia can present many challenges to the acts of drinking and eating; actions which someone typically takes for granted.  In the palliative care setting, a patient will often develop dysphagia at the end stages of life.  Because of dysphagia, changes may have to be made to the amount and/or texture of food that a person eats.

One of the goals of this  study is to find out how the caregiver of a patient responds when that patient needs to have his/her food changed.  There seems to be very little research conducted on this topic; our hope also is to be able to add our findings to this area of patient care. 

What should patient’s expect?

We are seeking consent for participation in the research project from our patient’s admitted to the Palliative Care Unit.  When patient’s are admitted to  the Palliative Care Unit, they will receive a consent form from the nurses, which describes the study and asks for the patient’s and caregiver’s consent to participate.  Patient’s and Caregiver’s are asked to review the consent form and sign it if they wish to participate.

Patient’s or their Caregiver’s may ask questions about the consenting process or the study, or withdraw from participating in the study at any time. Patient care will not be affected, regardless of participation.

If a patient and caregiver consent to participate, our Clinical Research Coordinator, Victor Nam, will be notified if changes occur to the patient’s swallowing during their stay here.  He will then interview the caregiver.  Interview questions will explore feelings and attitudes towards such changes.    

Project Staff :

  • Beverley Smith, MD
  • Ron Seto, Pharmacist
  • Lisa Chong, Speech-Pathologist
  • Victor Nam, Clinical Research Coordinator

Please feel free to contact our Clinical Research Coordinator, Victor Nam, if you have any questions and/or if you are a Patient or Caregiver on our Palliative Care Unit are interested in participating in this study.  Information Sheet.

Phone: 416-925-2251 ext. 227

Email: vnam@torontograce.org